By Rob Wynkoop
There are many benefits to worm composting in your home. For me, the first is for sustainability and conservation purposes. I believe that if I can use worm composting to help reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill that is a beneficial use of my time and a beneficial thing for the environment overall. Second, as an avid gardener I’m able to take produce a beneficial soil amendment called Worm Castings that I use to produce bigger blooms and better plant health.
Indoor Worm Composting
When you start worm composting in your home, it’s actually very simple. The main difference is saving your food scraps and finding a good source of carbon. For food scraps that usually amounts to food in our refrigerator that has expired or has exceeded its shelf life for human consumption. I have a compost bin that I put all our scraps in. This consists of ends of veggies I’ve chopped for cooking dinner, things from the fridge that have started to go bad, salad that may have wilted a bit too much or avocado that’s overripe. This week I’ve added banana to my worm compost bin as well as some salad that had gone bad.
The Worms will eat the food scraps as well as the carbon material (we suggest using cardboard or paper scraps from mail or newspapers) and they process it into Worm Castings. These microbe and nutrient packed worm poo is actually very beneficial to plants and gardens. The microbes can help plants guard against disease and unwanted pests. You can take the castings and turn it into Worm Tea as well. Worm Tea is a liquid form of worm castings that has beneficial use in gardens. Gardeners will often spray worm tea directly on plants or apply to roots as they would do during watering.
How Long Does it Take to Make Worm Castings?
In my worm composting bin I am able to get usable worm castings in about 60-90 days depending on the ideal conditions. This means having the ideal temperatures for worm bins correct as well as feeding the worms correctly. If you’re using the Worm Bucket, you’ll have instructions on what to feed the worms as well as how to properly maintain the worm bin. Additionally, we have a facebook page and community of Worm Farmers using the worm bin and sharing their helpful tips and tricks.
Worm Composting for Gardens
The worm castings that are produced from worm composting can also be mixed into your garden soil. I do this by sifting my worm bin to separate the worms from the castings. And then spreading the castings into a mixture of peat moss and manure.
It is recommended that worm castings not exceed 30% of your soil mixture. This is because the worm castings are introducing beneficial bacteria and microbes into your soil as their primary benefit. So applying worm castings isn’t exactly like applying compost directly, you don’t need equal parts of worm castings to get the microbial benefits, because once you mix them, the microbes and bacteria will inoculate the other parts of the mix.